Key protein research

7 November 2014        

Heart muscle cells

New research, that we part-funded, has found that removing a protein from fat cells in the body could lead to safe storage of fat and reduced fatty acids in the blood.

The scientists – from the Universities of Edinburgh and Oxford - now hope to carry out further research to help understand how this could be developed in to future treatments.

How does it work?

In obesity, fat tissue grows too quickly for normal blood vessel growth to keep up. This suffocates the fat cells, which can have negative health implications.

But the researchers found that using a chemical to block a protein called PHD-2, which senses oxygen levels in cells leads to healthier storage of fat and lower fatty acid levels in the bloodstream.

The process has already been shown to work in mice and human cells.

Tackling obesity

Dr Sanjay Thakrar, our Research Adviser, said: “Tackling the obesity crisis in the UK is an ever pressing public health concern.

"Being overweight can put you at greater risk of diabetes and coronary heart disease.

“This team of researchers has found that blocking the activity of a protein in fat cells helped change the way that fat was stored and released into the bloodstream.

“While this study is interesting further research is needed to understand how this finding can be used for future treatments.”

The research was published in the journal Diabetes and part-funded by the Wellcome Trust.

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